Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 154 ..
been quite different. One of the data sources that we use, and that we hope to augment in the future, is the bike barometer on Sullivans Creek, which is a popular travel route, particularly to go through to the ANU. That has seen a decrease during the pandemic in the number of people cycling through the area. That is still down, at the moment, by about five to 15 per cent on last year’s numbers.
So the nature of the travel has been different for local travel and for recreational travel by cycling and walking. We want to make sure that people continue this trend of cycling and walking beyond the pandemic. That was the focus of the ACT government’s transport strategy which we released just before the caretaker period.
MS CLAY: Minister, in the context of increased walking and cycling since COVID, and the different travel patterns that we have seen, has the government considered installing pop-up cycle lanes in areas with high cycling activity, which is something that occurred in other places?
MR STEEL: I thank Ms Clay for her supplementary question. The ACT government’s focus has been on building new cyclepaths and augmenting our existing 3,000 kilometres of cyclepaths and footpaths around Canberra. That has been a focus of the many screwdriver-ready and stimulus packages that we have fast-tracked through the pandemic. Certainly it has been the focus of groups asking us to focus on those areas as a way of making sure that, beyond the pandemic, in this new normal, we can support more people to cycle and walk around our community, beyond just a pop-up or a temporary structure that could have been put up during the pandemic period.
We did, particularly in one area, try to establish a pop-up cyclepath on Commonwealth Avenue. We were in discussions with the NCA for a period of time in relation to that, because it is one of those areas where people are cycling and walking for recreation as well as for commuting to work. Unfortunately, ultimately that was not approved by the National Capital Authority, so the focus has been on making sure that we are building our new cycle routes and maintaining our footpaths and cycle routes around Canberra.
We have, however, worked with Pedal Power on a new initiative, which is the Slower Streets initiative, which has been implemented in about 11 suburbs around Canberra to try to slow traffic and get neighbours to understand that there are more people out walking and cycling in the community. That has been very successful and is something that we want to continue in the future. If other suburbs want to join, they are absolutely welcome to.
MR DAVIS: Minister, what new cycling and walking infrastructure was delivered as screwdriver-ready projects completed as part of the government’s response to COVID?
MR STEEL: I thank Mr Davis for his supplementary question. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACT government has had a focus on active travel through each fast-track stimulus package that we have brought forward, as well as the funding that the Commonwealth has brought forward for projects that we have proposed.